French Lick History 1845-1900
From salt lick to health resort
Once the state gave up its attempts to mine salt near the mineral springs in French Lick, it sold 1,500 acres to Dr. William A. Bowles. Bowles opened the first hotel in 1845. A hotel has been located on the site ever since.
Bowles died in 1873, and his hotel was sold at sheriff’s sale in 1880 to settle his disputed estate. Paoli residents Hiram Wells and James Andrews bought the hotel, made numerous improvements, and expanded the customer base. In 1887, they sold the hotel to a Louisville syndicate, which again made extensive improvements that transformed it from a summer place to a year-round resort. That year, the Louisville, New Albany, and Chicago Railroad (better know as the Monon) completed its line to the area.
History of French Lick
1845-1900: From salt lick to health resort
1901-1946: Expansion marks the Taggart era, Part I
1901-1946: Expansion marks the Taggart era, Part II